Saga developers Kickstarting an MMORTS inspired by Warhammer Miniatures and World of Warcraft

The idea behind the original Saga was simple. A team of developers who had worked for Microsoft, Hasbro, Activision, THQ and Sony Online Entertainment wanted to create a real-time strategy game with a persistent world. They wanted to tell a story with the breadth and depth of a role-playing game and the fast-paced strategy elements of an RTS.

That game – Saga – released in 2008. The massively multiplayer real-time strategy quickly amassed a loyal following with more than 400,00 sign-ups.

Four years on the game's developers are reforming under the name Gnome Templar to make a sequel: Saga Kingdoms.

Slava Zatuchny is the CEO of Gnome Templar. He says Saga achieved the team's original goals, but it was only when they met those goals that they realized that the posts had shifted and they wanted to do more.

"... The engine would not support many systems we wanted to add. So in that regard we felt unfulfilled."

"Saga became our drug as we thought of new systems we wanted to include and received volumes of suggestions that we had never previously imagined," Zatuchny tells Polygon. "Unfortunately, because we had not originally planned for the full scope of the game, the engine would not support many systems we wanted to add. So in that regard we felt unfulfilled."

Which is why Gnome Templar is Kickstarting the sequel to SagaSaga Kingdoms. The original MMORTS gave them a taste of what they were capable of, and now they want to expand the game world in such a way that the infrastructure of the original cannot support.

The team has an ambitious idea of what Saga Kingdoms can be, and they're hoping that with the support of the game's future players they'll be able to make the MMORTS what the original Saga couldn't be.

In Saga Kingdoms players are given reign over a capital city where they command one of six factions battling for control. It's an MMO inasmuch that players can go on an unlimited number of quests and adventures together and choose their army formations. There's strategy involved in conquering the capital cities and towns of others. There's crafting, customizable heroes and plans for more than 150 unit types. Gnome Templar is also hoping to have cross-play between mobile devices and PC.

"When our players log into the world, they will be asking themselves 'What will I discover today?' not 'Who can I kill?'"

"Saga already has a rich story," Zatuchny says. "We want players to experience our world through quests and to have a hand in shaping the world. Players will form groups for the purpose of battling epic monstrosities or corrupt tyrants.

"When our players log into the world, they will be asking themselves 'What will I discover today?' not 'Who can I kill?'"

Zatuchny says the team has drawn its inspiration from Warhammer Miniatures and World of Warcraft – in the former they want players to have a large number of units at their disposal so they can customize their armies; in the latter they believe it's important to focus on questing so that players can feel like they're part of the story. They're also looking to existing games to inform them of what not to do.

"Most MMORTS games focus on battling other players," Zatuchny says. "This would be an easy road to take; creating a dozen PvP maps is much easier than a thousand quests. We need to be sure we don't fall victim to focusing on this design.

"No one would call World of Warcraft or our new favorite Guild Wars 2 an MMO if the games only had PvP arenas, yet this seems to be perfectly acceptable for RTS games. We aim to change this expectation."

Saga Kingdoms is in development for PC, Mac, Linux and mobile. The project has 10 days left to be funded on Kickstarter.

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